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RIP Harlan Ellison 1934-2018 (1 Viewer)


Edge of Glory?
Senior HTF Member
Nov 8, 2007
Somewhere in Florida
Real Name
Sad day for science fiction with this transition. What a force.

I was an early fan, particularly of his collection of short stories, "Dangerous Visions," and, or course of his contributions to The Outer Limits ("Demon with the Glass Hand," "Soldier"), and Star Trek ("The City on the Edge of Forever".)

Despite living and working in LA near two decades as a writer, I never sought to meet him (as I did Ray Bradbury), but did encounter him once... memorably.

I was in a car behind a truck stopped at a light on Doheny Drive. And the burly truck driver casually spits tobacco out his driver window... and it lands squarely on the hood of a classic '66 Mustang waiting at the traffic light beside it.

Out of the Mustang jumps the most heated and outraged small pitbull of a human being you could ever imagine, practically spitting with rage himself, screaming and rushing over to confront the driver of the truck that maligned his precious Mustang.

I couldn't believe my eyes... that little pitbull of a human being was none other than Harlan Ellison, and he was physically confronting a truck driver nearly twice his size in a primal road rage moment.

Luckily, for Harlan, the truck driver basically ignored him, looking down from his driver window like a nagging mosquito was buzzing his ears, and he simply drove away as the light changed.

Harlan stood around fuming in the space he vacated for several more moments before returning to his prized classic Mustang and driving off himself.

But what I had always heard and suspected about the writer was confirmed for me that day. He was a force of nature and volatility (and creativity) not to be fucked with. I have the documentary on him that's called Dreams with Sharp Teeth. I thank him profusely for sharing some of those dreams with us over the years.

And I'm also grateful for never having crossed him and triggered his wrath (such as copping his Outer Limit's ideas for a feature film.)

Harlan made sure one way or another, through his prolific creativity and ferociousness, that we knew he stalked this planet.

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Walter Kittel

Senior HTF Member
Dec 28, 1998
I've been reading Harlan Ellison my entire adult life. One of the greats and he will be missed. One of the very first things I ever read by Ellison was his Nebula award winning novella A Boy and His Dog. A pretty great way to start a lifelong relationship with a writer. (I always thought that Ellison's final line was more appropriate than the change that L.Q. Jones made for the film version.)

- Walter.


Senior HTF Member
Nov 23, 2007
Alberta Canada
Real Name
Harlan Ellison to Tom Snyder on the Tomorrow Show: "I think revenge is a very terrific good thing for everybody".

I hope he's at peace now too. But we perhaps need more like him...not more than one at a time in any given room at any given time, but the man leaves some serious works of genius behind him as a literary legacy, doesn't he?

dana martin

Senior HTF Member
Oct 28, 2003
Norfolk, VA
Real Name
Dana Martin
Harlan Ellison On Tomorrow Show - Why Television Is Made For Morons

back when Network TV was actually worth a damn on late night, and not the goofs that are doing it now, perfect style of interview, ask a question, don't interrupt, and let the guest speak, or just carry on a conversation, the only person that came close was Ferguson

Ellison, like or not was ahead of his time.


Senior HTF Member
Feb 14, 2006
Room 303, The Heart O' The City Hotel
Real Name
On another note, look for my totally-original short story, "I Don't Have a Vocal Orifice But I Need to Shout," coming soon!

But kidding aside, yeah...for the longest time, one of my favorite travel hobbies was prowling used bookstores for old Harlan Ellison editions. The best of his writing had such a jazzy snap to it, an edgy turn-of-phrase, and as others have noted, intensity. And even on those very rare occasions when the stories weren't the best, those introductions were always amazing, and well worth the cost of a book all by themselves.

He had such a unique and clear voice in all his writing. I remember a foreword that Stephen King wrote for one of Ellison's collections, which said that he (King) couldn't write immediately after reading Ellison’s work because he would just absorb Ellison's vibe so strongly that everything sounded exactly as if Ellison had written it himself.

And hey, he even nearly strangled Milhouse on The Simpsons -- what a life.

Dave Jessup

Stunt Coordinator
May 5, 2003
Been a stone cold fanboy of Harlan's writing since before 1976; got to meet him at least four times after that - dinner once with him (and Len Wein, and a small group of fellow fans), watching the premiere of the Twilight Zone's Paladin of the Lost Hour, and doing each other small kindnesses even up to last year or so.

Hunting down his TV work was interesting. Outside of the perpetual Star Trek reruns... Outer Limits? Not around my area. (First time I saw Demon With a Glass Hand it was sans the first 17 minutes because of a NY Mets baseball game overrun.) Cimarron Strip? Burke's Law? Fuggeddaboutit! Only in the past fifteen years or so has it been easy, via DVD releases - and now, the prospect of gorgeous blu-ray transfers of those OL classics.

After this weekend of reminiscing with friends and family, rereading some of the stories and teleplays, I'll take comfort and satisfaction that there'll be the fun of introducing others to his work.

Really... check out Buster Keaton in Who Killed 1/2 of Glory Lee?....

Sam Favate

Senior HTF Member
Feb 3, 2004
Real Name
Sam Favate
Ellison was notoriously difficult but so obviously brilliant that people kept working with him. And not everyone thought he was difficult; J. Michael Strazynski and he got along well, as did he and many others. Maybe it was like the old saying that Ellison didn't suffer fools gladly.


Senior HTF Member
Aug 30, 2002
David Gerrold just made the point that the memorial list at this year's WorldCon is going to be rough:

Len Wein
Ursula K. LeGuin
Jerry Pournelle
Gardner Dozois
Harlan Ellison

...Damn, that's like the '27 Yankees, there.
I'll be there this year.

I only had one personal encounter with Harlan Ellison. Yesterday, I looked in the right file cabinet and found my Harlan Ellison talk write-up from the 1993 Philadelphia ComicFest. Harlan Ellison gave a talk there.

Here is what I wrote in my original write-up:
Harlan’s talk was absolutely full blast entertainment. He was quite “politically correct,” offending just about everyone and he asked that if anyone here doesn’t get offended by something then that person should identify himself and he would give it his best shot. He first asked people to ask some of the “old questions” to get them out of the way. When I raised my hand, he said something along the lines of asking what I was risking my life to ask. I asked what was going on with the “I, Robot” screenplay, which turned out to be a good question as he was able to go on for quite a while with some of the history behind it and then mention that it will be collected in the near future with some amazing illustrations and then made into a graphic novel as well.

Among the things he talked about were Gene Roddenberry, an absurd rumor about him brining a chandelier down on a crowd, the story of how he met his current wife, his first meeting with Isaac Asimov, Gary Groth, his four hours working with Disney, his punching out of Charles Platt, William Shatner, the People’s Court, his being blacklisted by the ABC censor Adrian Samich which led to his TwoFace script not airing for Batman, and his being filmed for an unaired episode of The Dating Game. My shoulder was used by him during one of his stories (he was demonstrating how he tapped someone on the shoulder before punching that person’s lights’ out). If you ever get a chance to see him talk, take advantage of it.

The I Robot Illustrated screenplay book came out in 1994. It is very nice and the screenplay is excellent.

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